“The feds have been looking at this problem for an awfully long time, it’s 50-plus years, and they’ve really not done a lot to get at the root causes,” says Julian H. Walker, author of Wires Crossed: Memoir of a Citizen & Reporter in the Irving Press.
With holiday gift-giving season and long wintry nights upon us, you may find yourself in need of a few book suggestions.
If local interest grabs your interest, you're in luck. It was another prolific year for people writing in or about New Brunswick.
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A new book by former St Croix Courier editor Julian Harry Walker explores the problems with media ownership in New Brunswick. He joins host Julia Wright to talk about "Wires Crossed" his memoir as a citizen and journalist in the Irving media. Click here to hear the interview.
A good editor will always tell young reporters to get off the telephone, get out of the office, and talk to people face to face. That is how you find out what is really going on in the community, the latest at town council, the local hospital, or the school board. Telephones, e-mails, Facebook, Google, Twitter, or TikTok will not, alone, produce a free press. That must come from real, hungry reporters and editors supporting them.
When I was fresh out of Carleton journalism school and a cub reporter on the Montreal Star in 1976, I seized on the decision of the Gillette Corporation to introduce a new way to market its razors and blades. Constantly changing designs and shaving technologies in order to open new markets for its products, the corporation celebrated the invention of the “throwaway razor” to ease the way for customers tired of replacing just the razor blades and not the whole razor. Men and women could now pitch the whole razor into the garbage, a new and novel approach at that time.
I was assigned to cover what was expected to be a routine story for a rookie. I took it in an entirely non-promotional direction, beginning a lengthy piece of research that showed tons of extra plastic (with blades intact) would be ending up in landfills. The unflappable city editor, John Yorston, who had hired me, was patient with my calculations, and when the paper finally published my report, Gillette was not amused. They kept the throwaway product in their arsenal but seemed to realize it was unwise of them to market it as “the new best thing”. The fact that some landfills are not full of these disposable razors today can perhaps in some way be attributed to my precocious concern for the environment and my obsessive response. Investigative reporters, even young, keen ones, deserve to have some relief from the grind of seemingly endless searches for stories.